The Verdict – And The Arrogance

by Savannah

These amazing paragraphs appear towards the end of the CAS Report on the appeal by Maria Sharapova of her two year ban due to doping by the ITF.

100. The Panel wishes to emphasize that based on the evidence, the Player did not endeavour to mask or hide her use of Mildronate and was in fact open about it to many in her entourage and based on a doctor’s recommendation, that she took the substance with the good faith belief that it was appropriate and compliant with the relevant rules and her anti-doping obligations, as it was over a long period of her career, and that she was not clearly informed by the relevant anti-doping authorities of the change in the rules. After
its de novo review here, the Panel has determined it does not agree with many of the conclusions of the Tribunal, except as otherwise specifically indicated herein.

1 01. Finally, the Panel wishes to point out that the case it heard, and the award it renders, was not about an athlete who cheated. It was only about the degree of fault that can be imputed to a player for her failure to make sure that the substance contained in a product she had been legally taking over a long period, and for most of the time on the basis of a doctor’s prescription, remained in compliance with the TADP and WADC.
No question of intent to violate the TADP or W ADC was before this Panel: under no circumstances, therefore, can the Player be considered to be an “intentional doper”.

The report is 28 pages long but I think that a reader can get the gist of things just by reading these words.

Let’s break down what is being said here.

The Panel wishes to emphasize that based on the evidence, the Player did not endeavour to mask or hide her use of Mildronate and was in fact open about it to many in her entourage and based on a doctor’s recommendation, that she took the substance with the good faith belief that it was appropriate and compliant with the relevant rules and her anti-doping obligations, as it was over a long period of her career, and that she was not clearly informed by the relevant anti-doping authorities of the change in the rules.

Word for word that sounds like the argument that the ITF rejected as unbelievable. Who are the “many in her entourage” who knew? Her nutritionist? Her coaches? Her doctors based in the United States? WTA medical staff? If anyone read the initial report it was clear that the only person who knew about her doping was her father. Sure her agent has fallen on his sword and taken the weight for not advising his client due to “personal issues” but the ITF panel saw that for the ruse it was and is. I wonder if he does the drug checking for his other clients?

If she felt meldonium was nothing more than aspirin why didn’t she list it on her medical forms? Why not tell your coaches and the medical staff you hired (or used in the case of the WTA staff) that you were taking this drug? Why didn’t you have a doctor in the country where you reside, the United States, assess your physical condition? In the original report it’s clearly stated that she relied on a prescription written in 2006 by a Russian doctor. No medical doctor worth his or her salt would allow an athlete to rely on a prescription that old without doing their own examination and assessment of the athlete. Hell, no competent doctor would allow anyone to self medicate for that long a period of time without the proper medical tests being performed. But here we have the man in charge of this hearing saying that “many” in her entourage knew. It’s a blatant lie.

They stick to the lie by saying that the case was not about an athlete who cheated but about the “degree of fault” that can be ascribed to a player. To quote:

“It was only about the degree of fault that can be imputed to a player for her failure to make sure that the substance contained in a product she had been legally taking over a long period, and for most of the time on the basis of a doctor’s prescription, remained in compliance with the TADP and WADC.”

Stunningly myopic is one way to put it. A blatant lie is what I will call it.

And yet they didn’t exonerate her. Instead they reduced the ban to 15 months. Some were hoping for her to be completely cleared. Some thought she’d should get a year because it “wasn’t her fault”. The hell it wasn’t her fault. Her PR machine created the image of a woman who was hands on in every aspect of her career, a woman who would make sure that unless she was being paid to drink water would remove the tag. A woman who called WADA when she was changing a vitamin regimen. But somehow this “strong woman” turned her most important career choice, what drugs she could legally take, over to her agent who has no medical training whatsoever and who became distracted by personal issues and din’t read the WADA notifications that began in September 2015. Talk about dereliction of duty!

The other amazing thing is that WADA is called out for not making a special effort to reach out to Eastern Europeans who took the stuff like candy. Really? Wouldn’t that be discriminatory? Why should one group get favored treatment over another? That this argument was accepted by the CAS is setting an amazing precedent. Going forward can’t an athlete say that he or she didn’t understand the notices because they weren’t given a special outreach due to some circumstance or another?

I suggest that everyone read both reports.

The ITF should’ve given her the four years they wanted to.

Oh, and what does the woman who benefitted from the mental gymnastics seen in the CAS report? Did she express her gratitude and ask that everyone move forward? No.

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Yeah. I’d call that arrogance.

©Copyright Savannahs World 2016 All Rights Reserved

One thought on “The Verdict – And The Arrogance”

  1. Thaks for the summary as I hadn’t the time to read the entire decision. I saw the Head response and was amazed and outraged at the statement (especially the snide referemce to TUEs by others. The arrogance of the Sharapova team is mind-boggling.

    Like

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